Horizon Minerals hopes to join the rush to develop new economy vanadium resources in North West Queensland.
Vanadium is a mineral used in steel production and increasingly in large-scale batteries for energy storage and the rush is on to develop it in the Richmond to Julia Creek region.
The fourth player is Horizon Minerals on the adjacent mining lease to Liontown, which says drilling at the Lilyvale Prospect of the Richmond Vanadium Project is promising.
Like the others, the Richmond Vanadium Project lies near the Flinders Highway and Great Northern railway, 500km west of the Townsville port and 50km north of Richmond.
The project comprises four main prospects in the Richmond and Julia Creek districts covering an area of 1520 sq km of the Cretaceous Toolebuc Formation and in 2018 project owners called it a "globally significant find"
In their quarterly activities report to the ASX the mainly gold mining Horizon said the project was a "non-core asset".
In March 2017, the company, then known as Intermin Resources entered a strategic development Joint Venture on the project with Chinese-backed Richmond Vanadium Technology (previously AXF Vanadium).
RVT completed the initial earn in period ($1 million to earn 25% interest) in March 2018 and are in the second stage expenditure commitment of $5 million over three years with a Feasibility Study to earn a further 50% interest in the project.
The JV conducted additional drilling in 2019 and updated the Mineral Resource Estimate in 2020.
Horizon say the scale of the project places it as one of the largest undeveloped vanadium resources in the world, which is close to surface and remains open in all directions.
Their 2020 pre feasibility study was based on an initial 20-year mine life at Lilyvale demonstrating a financially viable project with a shallow pen pit mining producing 81.2Mt at a fully diluted grade of 0.49% vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) for 15.8Mt of 1.82% V2O5 concentrate with concentrate production on site
Refining overall recovery at 86.1% produces 254,000 tonnes of 98% V2O5 commercial grade flake with average annual production of 12,700t V2O5 .
The company estimated "modest up-front capital costs" of US$157.4m which is $214m in Aussie dollars.
Horizon said the next steps were to move to the next level of study in areas such as determining the optimal power supply for the project along with progressing environmental studies and preparing the documents for government permitting and approvals.
"In parallel, discussions shall continue with potential offtake partners in conjunction with assessing the way forward in relation to the project, including financing or assessing other options for maximising shareholder benefit from the project," Horizon told the ASX.
Vanadium is a grey, soft and ductile mineral with unique properties that make it valuable to steel, chemical and energy storage industries.
Vanadium has been designated as a critical mineral, due to its use in alloyed steel, needed for defence and aerospace applications.
Vanadium redox flow batteries is a growing use as a safe solution for large-scale energy storage.
Vanadium is mined mostly in South Africa, China, and Russia and in 2020 the Australian government established a Critical Minerals Facilitation Office to provide policy and advice and to connect Australian projects with investors, regulators and exporters.
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